Alternative livelihood for Guimarasnons gain ground – press release

June 7, 2007

(Members of Sebaste Seaweeds Growers show how they grow seaweeds. The News Today, May 21, 2007)

Some nine months after the ill-fated Solar 1 oil spill incident, Guimaras residents greatly affected by the disaster are back on their feet again. This time, with renewed enthusiasm as they avail of the P3-million alternative livelihood program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Petron Foundation.

Recently, 25 members of Brgy. Sebaste Seaweeds Growers SEA-K Association in the municipality of Sibunag concluded their three-day capability-building workshop on seaweed production. No less than DSWD Undersecretary Cecilia Yangco attended the closing program.

“The workshop is just one of the trainings that the members need to undergo before they will be provided with seed fund so as to equip them with the knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship and basic management. They were also oriented of the SEA-K program,” explained DSWD6 OIC Regional Director Teresita S. Rosales even as she lauded the members for their perfect attendance during the three-day workshop.

SEA-K or the Self-Employment Assistance–Kaunlaran is an integrated program of all livelihood projects of DSWD. It aims to build the capability of the “economically active poor” to access credit resources to start a feasible micro-enterprise and to sustain and maximize its use for their empowerment and development.

Municipal Social Welfare Officer Marlyn Divinagracia said seaweed production has been a thriving industry in Sibunag. What the community lacked, however, was fund support.

“When the alternative livelihood program was launched in Sibunag as part of the rehabilitation of the province, the people readily proposed for seaweed production given its potentials and wide market,” Divinagracia said.

She added that Sebaste is among the 15 SEA-K associations target to be organized and provided seed capital in Sibunag. Meanwhile, five other SEA-K associations are also being organized in the municipality of Nueva Valencia where members will be trained on geotextile.

Adelina Sobrevesana, Sebaste SEA-K Association president, shared that the program is a big help to the community as seaweed growers have bonded together into an organized group.

“The ‘kanya-kanya’ mentality has been eliminated. The members now give complementary support to each other and have come to respect other members’ ideas,” Sobrevesana said.

For her part, Yangco encouraged the members to take active part in their Association’s undertakings so as to sustain their industry eventually paving the way for their economic upliftment.

“It is only through starting your own business that you’ll have better chances of achieving better lives as long as it is coupled with hardwork and perseverance,” Yangco said.

The alternative livelihood program for oil spill affected residents in Guimaras is also supported by the Technical Assistance and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Tourism and local government units of Guimaras. (DSWD-6 PR, The News Today, May 21, 2007)


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